Illinois court denies appeal of reversed murder conviction

 
 
Updated 3/31/2016 1:58 PM

WOODSTOCK, Ill. -- The Illinois Supreme Court has denied a request by prosecutors to appeal the reversed murder conviction of a grocery store worker in the case of a northern Illinois teenager who's presumed dead after disappearing more than a decade ago.

Mario Casciaro spent about two years in prison on a first-degree murder conviction in the death of 17-year-old Brian Carrick.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

In September, his conviction was overturned after an appellate court ruled that the evidence was lacking and improbable and that the state failed to prove Casciaro's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The same court granted Casciaro's release from prison.

Carrick was last seen in December 2002 at the Johnsburg grocery store where he and Casciaro worked. Prosecutors claim Casciaro persuaded a third co-worker to confront 17-year-old Brian Carrick over a drug deal debt in 2002.

The other co-worker, Shane Lamb, testified at trial that he punched Carrick, sending the teen falling to the ground unconscious. Carrick's body was never found.

Lamb later recanted, saying he made up the story after prosecutors offered him immunity from a murder charge.

Casciaro's attorney, Kathleen Zellner, and the McHenry County State's Attorney's Office issued separate statements after the state Supreme Court's made its decision Wednesday, the (Crystal Lake) Northwest Herald (http://bit.ly/1RNmbRx ) reported.

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"The Casciaro family and Kathleen Zellner are very pleased with the Court's decision," the attorney's release stated.

The Casciaros and Zellner couldn't be reached for additional comment Wednesday night.

The statement from McHenry County State's Attorney Lou Bianchi said the office was "troubled that the Appellate Court's flawed decision, usurping the role of 12 McHenry County jurors who found Mr. Casciaro guilty after hearing all the evidence, will stand without being reviewed by the Illinois Supreme Court."

Assistant State's Attorney Patrick Kenneally said he agreed with Bianchi's statement. He said he couldn't yet speak about what the office's next steps might be.

Kenneally declined to comment further.

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Information from: The Northwest Herald, http://www.nwherald.com

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